This month's finds are a week earlier than usual this month. Hopefully there's something here to curl up with over the holidays.
What do I have for you this time?
Annalisa Crawford: That Sadie Thing and other stories
"That Sadie Thing and other stories is an intense and emotional journey through the relationships that define our lives: a couple breaking up on a rainy night; a woman finding comfort from eating lunch as her best friend lies in hospital; a runaway longing to go home; a teenager oppressed by her father, and many more."I'm not always a great lover of collections of short stories - I often read a couple and then abandon the collection, however much I might enjoy the ones I've read. I absolutely adored these though! They focus (generally) on small snapshots of people's lives and are beautifully written and poignant. I was moved to tears by some of them. Give it a whirl - there will be at least one story in there that you just love.
"When recently widowed Deborah Maxwell is assigned by the Scottish Refugee Council to act as mentor to Abdi Hassan, a Somali refugee, the two are drawn into an awkward friendship. They must spend a year together, meeting once a month in different parts of Glasgow. As recently-widowed Deborah opens Abdi's eyes to her beloved city and its people, he teaches her about the importance of family - and of laying your ghosts to rest. All Abdi has brought with him is his four-year-old daughter, Rebecca, who lives in a silence no one can reach. Until, one day, she starts talking. And they discover why she had stopped..."I think I first heard this on Radio 4's Book at Bedtime and then bought the book. I was glad I did. This is gorgeous, heart-warming, moving and funny - often all in one page. It made me think about how people view refugees and how refugees view us.
Karin Alvtegen: Shadow
"In a nondescript apartment block in Stockholm, most of the residents are elderly. Usually a death is a sad but straightforward event. But sometimes a resident will die and there are no friends or family to contact. This is when Marianne Folkesson arrives, employed by the state to close up a life with dignity and respect. Gerda Persson has lain dead in her apartment for three days before Marianne is called. When she arrives, she finds the apartment tidy and ordered. Gerda's life seems to have been quite ordinary. Until Marianne opens the freezer and finds it full of books, neatly stacked and wrapped in clingfilm, a thick layer of ice covering them. They are all by Axel Ragnerfeldt, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, with handwritten dedications to Gerda from the author. What story do these books have to tell, about Gerda, and more importantly about Ragnerfeldt, a man whose fame is without precedent in the nation's cultural life, but seldom gives interviews? Shadow is an utterly compelling novel about the lengths and depths people can be driven in order to achieve fame and acclaim, and the effect that this has on those closest to them. It is a story of dark family secrets, and the power of writing, involving murder, betrayal and the holocaust, which will keep readers gripped until its final thrilling revelations."This was an excellent read - I devoured the book in a day. It was a really interesting concept and the characterisation was superb.
Other book finds: